Press Releases

Time to find alternatives to 1080 “weapon of mass destruction”

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Media Release - 14 October 2014

TIME TO FIND ALTERNATIVES TO 1080 - "WEAPON OF MASS DESTRUCTION"

The Royal New Zealand SPCA wants an immediate plan to find a more humane alternative to the use of 1080 poison to control possums, rats, and stoats.

"1080 poisoning is a horrible way to die and it is indiscriminate in what it kills," says Ric Odom, CEO of the Royal New Zealand SPCA.

"The Department of Conservation (DOC) is dropping more 1080 poison this year than ever before across huge swathes of our forests, despite the inevitable damage it will do to a wide range of 'non-target' animals and birds. We are saying there has to be a better way.

"These 1080 drops are not surgical strikes that only knock out so-called 'target' species. On the contrary, 1080 poison is a weapon of mass destruction that leads to the agonising deaths of many 'non-target' species, including deer, pigs, and, yes, native birds.

"DOC is dropping many tonnes of 1080 poison bait across New Zealand's forests and streams, potentially killing every living thing within the drop zones. This is unacceptable and there is much evidence to suggest that it is not the answer to the problem: the target species, particularly rats, always seem to bounce back, which necessitates more 1080 poison drops.

"It is simply not a sustainable way to manage wildlife in New Zealand. Are we going to keep dropping 1080 poison all over New Zealand forever? Is that the future we want?

"Moreover we appear to haveset up a double standard regarding the welfare of pest species, such as rats, stoats, and possums. The law permits the elimination of these and other inconvenient species and turns a blind eye to how inhumanely they are killed.

"Weas a country have decided there are two kinds of animals: those we care about and those we don't. If I fed 1080 poison to my dog, the SPCA would prosecute me with vigour. But if I fed the same poison to a possum there would be no repercussions at all.

"The Royal New Zealand SPCA exists to prevent cruelty to animals and promote animal welfare – and that means all animals, not just the ones we keep as pets or on our farms. Make no mistake, 1080 inflicts terrible, prolonged suffering on the animals that it poisons. We believe there must be alternative methods of pest control that do not inflict such awful suffering.

"We are not arguing against pest control. We recognise that rats, stoats, and possums pose a real threat to native bird species and must therefore be controlled in some way. What we are saying is there has to be a better way – and it's our duty as a nation to find it.

"The Royal New Zealand SPCA is standing by to work with DOC to help find more humane, more targeted, more sustainable, and more effective methods to control pest populations and protect our precious native wildlife. And we call on the Government to stump up the cash required to fund the search for these alternative methods."

For more information please contact: Ric Odom, Chief Executive Officer, Royal New Zealand SPCA, DDI: +64 9 825 1801, Mobile: +64 27 481 1300, Email: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

Steel Pipe Dog Beating Earns Prison Sentence

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Media Release - 13 October 2014

STEEL PIPE DOG BEATING EARNS PRISON SENTENCE

A Dannevirke man who beat his dog to death with a steel pipe has been sentenced to prison.

Perry Pepere Mason, 45, was today convicted in the Wairoa District Court of wilful ill treatment of an animal with the result that the animal died. He was sentenced to 12 months in prison and disqualified from owning dogs for three years.

On 12 June 2013 the Tararua District Council received two telephone calls. In the first, a member of the public reported a man in Dannevirke beating a dog with a weapon as if he was “chopping wood”. In the second phone call nine minutes later, the caller advised the council that the dog was dead.

The General Inspector from Tararua District Council drove past the property and saw a dog’s body in a sack. He reported the incident to the Police and the Dannevirke SPCA.

An SPCA Inspector visited the property. There was nobody home. The Inspector found a dead, cream-coloured dog in a sack at the back of the property. Beside the sack was a blood-stained metal pipe, 1m long and 5cm in diameter, with short cream-coloured hairs stuck in the blood.

The body of the dog and the metal pipe were removed from the property to preserve evidence. The dog was taken to a veterinary clinic for an autopsy.

The Veterinarian concluded that the dog had received more than one blow to the head and body and was alive during the beating. Death had occurred shortly after the beating due to head injuries, trauma to the chest, and severe shock from bleeding.

The catalogue of injuries suffered by the dog included multiple fractures to the head, a broken left eye socket, a broken upper jaw, severe bruising on the left side of the head and neck, and a broken right hind leg.

The Veterinarian found that the dog had suffered significant, unnecessary, and unreasonable pain and distress as a result of the beating it had received.

When questioned by Police, Mason admitted hitting the dog with the pipe but claimed he did so only once in retaliation for being bitten and “didn’t mean it”.

Mason has extensive previous criminal convictions – many of a violent nature – but has not previously been prosecuted by the SPCA for animal welfare matters.

“Due to the Defendant’s history of violent, anti-social behaviour we asked for a sentence of imprisonment to hold him properly accountable for this deliberate act of cruelty,” says Ric Odom, CEO of the Royal New Zealand SPCA.

“We’re very pleased that the Judge has agreed with us and handed down a strong sentence. We can only hope that this acts as a deterrent to this kind of offending.”

TVNZ says Check your Eggs - Free Range vs Caged

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Media Release - 1 September 2014

TVNZ SAYS CHECK YOUR EGGS

Check out the following link National News onTVNZ  

Prompted by concerns around animal welfare in farming, the SPCA is asking consumers to purchase only eggs, pork, turkey and chicken accredited by the Blue Tick programme.

The SPCA says the Blue Tick is label people you can trust and guarantees that strict animal welfare standards have been applied to each step in the farming process, particularly in the layer and broiler chicken sectors.

Blue Tick has 118 members who are producers and distributors in the eggs, chicken, turkey and pork industries and certifies animal products "are farmed to our high welfare standards".

The term free range lacks a specific and precise meaning and the Blue Tick Programme claims it is the only truly independent and third party audited, accreditation scheme.

"Consumers can play a very significant role in addressing animal welfare and humane farming issues by searching out and insisting on the exclusive supply of Blue Tick accredited products," SPCA chief executive Ric Odom says.

"Now that the recent free range issue has come to the fore once again, we have a very real opportunity to partner with consumers to say enough is enough and, through their purchasing behaviours, to effectively ensure that only Blue Tick Accredited Products are stocked by retailers."

For Further Information:

Janine Hampson Tindale
Acting Blue Tick Accreditation and Marketing Manager
Mobile +64 27 4847722
Email This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

Demand Blue Tick Accredited Products

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Media Release - 29 August 2014

MESSAGE TO NEW ZEALAND SHOPPERS - DEMAND BLUE TICK ACCREDITED PRODUCTS

Following ongoing concerns surrounding the issue of animal welfare in farming, particularly in the layer and broiler chicken sectors, the RNZSPCA is now asking consumers to purchase only eggs, pork, turkey and chicken that have been Accredited by the Blue Tick Programme and which carry the Blue Tick Mark.

The RNZSPCA describe The Blue Tick Programme as a "Label you can Trust". It is the only label that guarantees that strict animal welfare standards have been applied to each step in farming process. The role of the Blue Tick Programme is to provide an Accreditation process which allows consumers to enjoy a high level of trust in their chosen products.

Blue Tick is a certification programme run by the Royal New Zealand SPCA. It has 118 members who are Producers and Distributors in the Eggs, Chicken, Turkey and Pork Industries and it continues to grow. It certifies animal products that "are farmed to our high welfare standards".

Whilst standards in this Sector still require further development, the current Standards for each of these Categories typically exceed the minimum Standards in the various Codes of Welfare. However, the term "Free Range" is lacking in a specific and precise meaning, the Blue Tick Programme, itself under constant review and development, remains the only truly independent and third party audited, Accreditation Scheme.

The scheme started by certifying eggs in 2001 and then added pork products in 2009. In 2011 it added standards for meat poultry chicken and in 2012 added turkey standards.

National CEO of the RNZSPCA, Ric Odom, commented that "Consumers can play a very significant role in addressing animal welfare and humane farming issues by searching out and insisting on the exclusive supply of Blue Tick Accredited Products".

Odom said "Now that the recent free range issue has come to the fore once again, we have a very real opportunity to partner with consumers to say "Enough is enough" and, through their purchasing behaviours, to effectively ensure that only Blue Tick Accredited Products are stocked by retailers".

Odom added "And given the confusion that has been predicated in recent editorial coverage, here at the RNZSPCA we are actively engaged in further developing, alongside our partners AsureQuality, the standards and processes designed to ensure that our mark remains, and further improves as, the only truly independent and fully trustworthy assurance of humane farming".

For Further Information:

Janine Hampson Tindale
Acting Blue Tick Accreditation and Marketing Manager
Mobile +64 27 4847722
Email This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

Free Range Eggs

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Media Release - 12 August 2014

FREE RANGE EGGS

Following the conviction of an egg farmer who admitted duping consumers by passing off 2.47 million eggs from caged hens as free-range, we are concerned at what may well be a significant knock to the confidence of egg purchasing consumers.

The majority of New Zealand Shoppers care very much for animal welfare and for humane farming. Here at the RNZSPCA we operate the Blue Tick Accreditation Programme to ensure that you can purchase your eggs (and selected other products) with confidence and in the knowledge that the animals involved are humanely farmed.

BT-logoBlue Tick is a certification programme run by the Royal New Zealand SPCA. It certifies animal products that “are farmed to our high welfare standards”.The RNZSPCA describe the Blue Tick Programme as “Your Humane Farming Guarantee”.

The scheme started by certifying eggs in 2001 and then added pork products in 2009. In 2011 it added standards for meat poultry chicken and in 2012 added turkey standards.

The Brands that currently carry the Blue Tick Mark on their eggs are Freedom Farms, Henergy Eggs, Kirkfields and Wholesome. All producers supplying these distributors must meet the Accreditation Standards set down by the RNZSPCA.

So we respectfully ask that you purchase only Blue Tick Accredited products and, if you are unable to find such products, that you talk to your retailer and ask them to ensure that they only stock products that carry the Blue Tick Accreditation Mark.

Together, we can work to ensure that New Zealand producers meet appropriate standards and that animal welfare is not discarded in the interest of profit.

For more information please contact: Ric Odom, Chief Executive Officer, Royal New Zealand SPCA, DDI: +64 9 825 1801, Mobile: +64 27 481 1300, Email: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

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Brothers starved horses to the point of death

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Media Release - 17 July 2014

BROTHERS STARVED HORSES TO THE POINT OF DEATH

Two brothers starved and neglected a herd of horses in Canterbury to the point where six of them had to be destroyed to end their suffering.

Douglas John Williamson and his brother John Blackwood Williamson were convicted today in the Christchurch District Court on charges of wilfully ill-treating six horses, ill-treating another horse, and failing to ensure for the physical health and behavioural needs of five horses.

Both brothers were sentenced to 16 months imprisonment, disqualified from owning animals for five years, and ordered to pay reparations of $7000.

On 29 March 2010 a team of five SPCA Inspectors, an SPCA Auckland horse welfare representative, and a veterinarian went to the Defendants’ Halswell property on the outskirts of Christchurch.

They found 22 horses, of which 10 had body condition scores of 0 out of 5 (1 being poor, 5 being very fat), seven scored 1 to 2 out of 5, and the remaining five were in good condition with scores of 2 to 3 out of 5.

A black/brown stallion called ‘Danny B’ was discovered confined in a small, dark stable approximately 3m wide and 5m long. The stable had one door and no ventilation, and contained very little water and no feed.

Danny B was emaciated, with a body condition score of 0 out of 5. He was found standing in a stall full of urine and faeces where he ‘weaved’ almost constantly, a stereotypical behaviour often associated with the stress of long-term confinement. All his limbs were swollen and there was skin scalding on the heel bulbs of his hind limbs and patchy hair loss over his body.

A bay standard bred colt ‘PM1’, was down and unable to stand despite repeated attempts. He was in emaciated body condition, scoring 0 out of 5. Despite being two and a half years old, he was the approximate size a small yearling. The most common reason for failing to achieve average growth is inadequate nutrition. Because of his seriously poor condition, he was immediately euthanised to end his suffering.

The remaining 21 horses were removed from the property, however, five of the horses with body condition scores of 0 out of 5 were subsequently euthanised to relieve their suffering.

Despite the poor condition of the remaining 16 horses it was expected that with adequate nutrition and health care they were likely to make a full recovery. They were all drenched and put on a feeding plan.

A further 12 horses originally from the Halswell property were subsequently seized from a property in Kirwee, 37km west of Christchurch. All were in poor condition and the pasture was of very poor quality.

Blood and faecal testing of Danny B revealed no parasites and no evidence of chronic disease, meaning the only cause of his poor body condition was inadequate nutrition. Post mortem examination and faecal testing of four horses revealed such serious parasitic worm burdens that their abdominal wall were too damaged to allow adequate absorption of nutrition.

The veterinarian concluded that the poor body condition of the herd of horses was most likely due to parasitic infestation, exacerbated by an inadequate food supply in some cases.

“This is one of the worst cases of chronic neglect we have witnessed and we are pleased with the sentences handed down by the Court today,” says Ric Odom, CEO of the Royal New Zealand SPCA.

16July2014

“Despite numerous complaints dating back to 2008, site visits from SPCA Inspectors and veterinarians, and the issuing of multiple compliance notices, the Defendants in this case have consistently failed to provide adequate care for their horses.”

For more information please contact: Ric Odom, Chief Executive Officer, Royal New Zealand SPCA, DDI: +64 9 825 1801, Mobile: +64 27 481 1300, Email: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

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